Chapter 416 – Conflicted
“I think we should start with the regular people. Humans are cunning, and they know how to use traps called “formations”, which are extremely dangerous. However, if we target the cities occupied by regular people, they’ll be caught completely caught off-guard. We’ll have the initiative then. We can set down traps and kill any cultivators that come to rescue them.” As the Spider Queen’s greatest advisor, Dragonsnail slowly expressed his opinion.
“What if they don’t come to rescue them?” Strongboulder frowned. Compared to regular people, he would much rather kill cultivators.
“We’ll massacre a city with each passing day! I refuse to believe they’ll turn a blind eye to it!” Bloodshadow extended his bright red tongue and licked his lips. What he required the most for cultivation was fresh blood, but he was forbidden from slaughtering other daemons and night roamers underground. He could only rely on making do with the “offerings” from the night roamers. Dragonsnail’s strategy suited him perfectly.
“We should target cultivators!” Li Qingshan found it to be even more unacceptable to target these innocent people who had nothing to do with the Daemon Suppression alliance or cultivators in general.
“Aren’t so-called cultivators just cultivated regular people? Don’t regular people eat the flesh and blood of our kin to grow? Only by severing the roots can we truly defeat the humans. Have you forgotten about such a simple principle?”
Dragonsnail asked three consecutive questions, leaving Li Qingshan speechless. Humans fed off beasts. When the range of human activity increased, the range of habitation for beasts was reduced. Weren’t other species going extinct every single day in the world completely dominated by humans from his previous life?
So-called animal conservation was basically just the leftovers from the person who sat at the very top, whatever they could be bothered sparing. And, it was built on top of personal need. Wild beasts were locked up to serve as playthings, while livestock would be butchered once they were raised. Human apathy was instead the most terrifying apocalypse to beasts.
War had not just begun. Instead, it had never stopped. Humans and daemons opposed one another in their very nature. The founding emperor who had maintained several millennia of peace between the two races had basically achieved an unbelievable feat.
“Dragonsnail is right. That’s the way we daemons handle things,” the Spider Queen said in appreciation.
“Northmoon, you’ll experience the taste of failure soon,” Bloodshadow said in a sunken manner.
“Hahahaha, we can finally massacre humans freely! Northmoon, why don’t we see who kills more people?” Strongboulder laughed madly.
Li Qingshan suddenly experienced an absurd thought. Why am I associated with them at all? The faces around him gradually twisted, sometimes becoming a terrifying Rock of Slaughter, sometimes becoming a bat reeking with the smell of blood. In the end, an eight-eyed, eight-legged, vicious spider would lunge at him.
Afterwards, he saw himself. His ox horns and tiger claws were peeled away from his body as his skin like black iron would become bronze, recovering his original appearance, which was human!
“Northmoon, you’ve spent the most amount of time on the surface. Which city do you think we should start off with? It’s best if they have a larger population.”
Dragonsnail’s voice seemed to ring out from an extremely distant location, interrupting the images in front of Li Qingshan. The Spider Queen, Bloodshadow, and Strongboulder all stared at him, waiting for his reply.
“Ma’am Spider Queen, there’s something I’d like to report!”
“What is it?”
“I’ve reached a bottleneck in my cultivation lately. I want to enter secluded cultivation for some time and make a breakthrough so that I can properly fight Fu Qingjin to the death. I might not be able to partake in the initial battles.” Li Qingshan lowered his head, and his scarlet hair draped down over his face, concealing the hint of confusion in his eyes. Suddenly, he discovered that everything was already completely beyond his control. Perhaps thinking he could control it was a conceited illusion in the first place!
“Really?” The Spider Queen’s eyes flickered in doubt.
“Master, you’ve returned. How did the discussion go?”
Li Qingshan returned to the cavern in his territory, and Ye Liusu immediately went up to receive him.
“From today onwards, I will be entering secluded cultivation. Ye Liusu and Ye Liubo will be temporarily in charge of everything that happens in the territory. If there isn’t anything important, don’t disturb me.” Li Qingshan made his way onto the bed of spiritual stone and announced loudly.
In the end, the Spider Queen had agreed to his request. She did not suspect at all that this powerful subordinate of hers with illustrious achievements would experience conflict like that inside.
“Thank you for your trust, master.” Ye Liusu beamed inside.
The other night roamers had objections, but Li Qingshan completely ignored them. He dispersed them before just shutting his eyes.
“Xiao An, what do you think I should do?”
Below Contention island in the seclusion dwelling, Li Qingshan opened his eyes and told Xiao An everything that troubled him without holding back at all.
“Help neither.” After some thought, Xiao An answered like that.
“Yep. What do other humans or daemons have anything to do with us? It’s not like you’re the one killing them. They’re killing among themselves, so don’t worry about them. All we have to do is focus on cultivating.”
Xiao An blinked her large eyes and comforted him softly. Actually, she struggled slightly to understand what troubled Li Qingshan. After all, in her eyes, it did not matter even if all the other living creatures died apart from him. Perhaps it was more correct to say she hoped for that exactly.
“That’s reasonable. Perhaps I’ve been thinking too much.” Li Qingshan shook his head with a bitter smile. As a half-human, half-daemon “monster”, he had already lost his standpoint, thrown into a predicament of absolute isolation. He could not help but think of Gu Yanying. Did she ever become conflicted like this too?
Suddenly, his eyebrow twitched. Xiao An placed her little hand on Li Qingshan’s forehead seriously, as if she wanted to flatten his furrowed brows.
Li Qingshan smiled. At least he would never be lonely.
“Let’s cultivate. I want to make it to Foundation Establishment in a single breath and take out what brother ox gave me!”
Li Qingshan was overcome by his lofty aspiration. He immediately sat down and began cultivating, but a while later, his brows became subconsciously furrowed again. Even when he used the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression, he was unable to enter a proper state of cultivation.
At that moment, Li Qingshan suddenly heard the clear, pleasant chanting of scriptures. It was Xiao An’s voice.
Xiao An sat in front of Li Qingshan as she rotated through the Skull Prayer Beads in her hand. Scriptures emerged from her mouth, directly reaching his ears.
Although he could not understand the scriptures at all, Li Qingshan’s heart gradually settled down. He began to think over everything he had gone through since leaving Crouching Ox village. Like rewinding tape, the various scenes began to recede faster and faster.
Various figures flashed past his eyes as various matters unraveled like silk from a cocoon.
Before he knew it, his heart had already become entangled with so many emotions of love and hatred. Now, they were instead like cobwebs and dust, whisked away bit by bit.
There were also existences he could not whisk away so easily, like Fu Qingjin and Han Qiongzhi. They were the hatred and love deeply engraved in his heart. Whenever he reached them, the tape seemed to become stuck, stopping on this scene.
Xiao An’s scripture changed, and these scenes brushed past. Finally, he returned to Crouching Ox village once again, returning to the young boy who slept soundly on the hay in that tiny cowshed.
Three years passed with a flick of a finger.